Holiday Celebration Ideas

By: Samantha Bernstein-Naples

Back in March, most of us never would have guessed that the threat of the Coronavirus would extend through the summer, let alone well into the fall. Now, eight months later, as Thanksgiving and the December holidays approach, not only is the Coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down, it is actually picking up steam at a frightening pace. As of November 10th, according to CNN, hospitalizations in the United States reached an all-time high of more than 60,000 Coronavirus patients. But as arguably the most joy-filled season of the year fast approaches, the idea of withering away indoors and avoiding seeing friends and family seems less desirable than ever. Undoubtedly, it is of the utmost importance to stay safe and healthy. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the holidays; it simply means finding ways to adapt and expand how we celebrate!

At the heart of every holiday celebration is spending time with loved ones. However, in the period of Corona, traveling across state lines to visit family is not the safest of options. If you are still planning on making out-of-town visits, driving instead of taking a form of public transportation is a key way to reduce your chances of becoming infected or infecting loved ones. Another strategy is taking a rapid covid test before departure. With cases skyrocketing across the nation, however, traveling of any kind poses a significant health risk. You should check the official travel restrictions for the state that you are traveling from and traveling to. You may be required to quarantine for two weeks when you arrive or when you return.

Organizing zoom calls and skype sessions with family and friends is a far safer alternative. While communicating over a screen is certainly not the same as spending time together face-to-face, there are ways to make the zoom call experience personal, intimate, and festive. Instead of merely talking over the phone, incorporate friends and family virtually into celebratory activities. For example, why not set your grandparents a place at the Thanksgiving dinner table and share a meal over the computer, and behave just how you typically would, sharing in discussions and giving thanks that you are together, even if only virtually. Don’t underestimate the unifying powers of technology! For many families, games are also a hallmark of holiday celebrations. Technology offers a variety of fun, user friendly, inclusive games that families across the country can partake in together, offering a safe, excitement-filled alternative to playing games in person. Games such as charades and Pictionary are also easily played over zoom. There are plenty of ways to spice up zoom calls and to feel close to family and friends, even when you are separated. Virtual family dinners and online games are only a few of the ways you can make an online visit feel just as special as an in-person one. Love knows no bounds and can cover any distance; even though it will look a little bit different this year, the pandemic does not have to hinder our ability to enjoy time with loved ones. 

While attending holiday parties and going out to the theater are not viable ways to celebrate this year, there are plenty of ways to bring that same excitement and joy into your home. For those looking to get in touch with their artistic side, ornament making is a surprisingly wonderful way to do so. Creating decorations and building gingerbread houses are other unique ways to get into the holiday spirit. The satisfaction of designing just the perfect ornament or decoration to make your home shine more brightly and feel more lovely than ever is unparalleled. Consider baking delicious desserts and trying out new recipes as well; put the extra time you may be spending at home to good use and indulge in delectable Thanksgiving pies, Hanukkah latkes, and Christmas cookies of your own creation! Baking is the perfect way to connect with your family members from the safety of your own home and is a great alternative to going out to eat in a crowded restaurant. There are plenty of ways to keep the spirit of the holidays alive from home, making time feel like a gift rather than a burden. Exploring holiday movies and music is also a fantastic way to celebrate! The supply of hilarious and touching holiday movies and cheerful and heartwarming holiday music is endless. Greet the joy of the holiday season with open arms and offer it a haven within your own home as opposed to searching for it in the potentially hazardous homes of others. 

The cold and the snow of the holiday season can often be a deterrent from spending time outdoors; however, it is far safer to spend time outside than in the tight corridors of other people’s homes, the movie theater, or the mall; it can also be a whole lot of fun! Much of the beauty of the holidays lies in the unmatched wonder of freshly fallen snow and crisp winter air. Consider spending more time outside in uncrowded areas this holiday season. Taking a stroll through the winter wonderland that nature provides is a wonderful alternative to spending time in a busy mall. Taking a drive through town at night to admire the beautiful outdoor lights of your neighbors’ homes is another safe way to take in the charming wonder of the holidays. Take this opportunity to reconnect with your inner child, and spend time having fun in the snow! Bundling up to hang out with friends outdoors, go sledding, or build a snowman are safe ways to experience merriment and joy, free from the worry of contracting the virus. However, even when outside, it is important to wear a mask and remain aware of social distancing guidelines. Finally, consider doing your shopping for both Black Friday and gifts for loved ones online instead of in person. The comfort and safety that your couch and computer provide are far superior to the risk that shopping in a crowded mall presents.

The Coronavirus does not have the power to take away the joy, the wonder, and the magic of the holidays. The possibilities are endless when it comes to staying connected and in the holiday spirit in a safe and healthy fashion!

Conard High School's Premier Student Forum and News Organization

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